On this day in history, October 24

A couple enjoys the brilliance of autumn in Sheffield, home to the oldest association football club. Picture: Reuters

A couple enjoys the brilliance of autumn in Sheffield, home to the oldest association football club. Picture: Reuters

Published Oct 24, 2023


Some of the more interesting things that happened on this day.

79 Mt Vesuvius erupts, burying the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis and Stabiae and killing thousands. Research suggests the eruption occurred on this date, and not on August 24 as commonly believed.

1818 Composer Felix Mendelssohn, at the age of 9, performs his first public concert in Berlin.

1857 Sheffield FC, the world’s oldest association football club is founded.

1899 Writing about the Anglo-Boer War, John Tengu Jabavu, editor of Imvo Zabantsundu (Black Opinion), denounces Britain’s ‘irresponsible’ war and says meaningful negotiations could have taken place.

1899 The Battle of Rietfontein, near Dundee, takes place. The British retreat to Ladysmith.

1901 Anna Taylor becomes the first woman to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and survive.

1902 Guatemala’s Santa Maria volcano erupts, killing 6 000 people.

1929 Black Thursday, the first full day of the stock market crash, which began the Great Depression. It ends in 1939 when the New Deal and World War II lifts the US economy.

1931 Unable to get him on more serious charges, the US successfully prosecutes notorious American crime boss Al Capone for tax evasion. Capone gets 11 years in jail.

1945 The UN comes into existence with the ratification of its Charter by 29 nations. SA premier Jan Smuts plays a key role.

1946 A camera on a US V-2 rocket takes the first photograph of earth from outer space.

1964 Belgian paratroopers, with US air support, liberate hundreds of hostages held by rebels in Stanleyville, DRC.

1971 American Harry Drake sets the record for the longest arrow flight by a footbow, 1.8km.

1981 Pablo Picasso’s 1937 painting, Guernica, goes on display in Madrid to celebrate the centenary of the artist’s birth.

2017 Albert Einstein’s Theory of Happiness, written in 1922 and given to a bellboy in lieu of a tip – sells for $1.56m. ‘If you are lucky,’ the Nobel laureate told the boy, ‘the notes will someday be worth more than spare change’. As usual, his prediction was on the money.

2018 Scientists say East Island, part of the Hawaii island chain, was largely wiped out from the face of the Earth by storm surges from Hurricane Walaka.

2022 The UK's ruling Conservative party appoints Rishi Sunak as their next leader and Prime Minister, replacing Liz Truss after six weeks. Sunak is Britain’s first prime minister of colour.